Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: Q.B.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Dates of Hearing: 9/14/20161
ODR File No. 17927-15-16
Parties to the Hearing: Parent
Local Education Agency
New Media Technology Charter School 8034 Thouron Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19150
Daniel Cooper Esq.
Law Offices of Kenneth S. Cooper 45 E. City Avenue, #400
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 610-608-6185
Date Record Closed: December 7, 2016
Date of Decision: January 6, 2017
Hearing Officer: Charles W. Jelley Esq. LL.M.
During the 2015-2016 school year, the Student,2 was a 6th grader in the School District of Philadelphia attending (Charter School). While there, the Parents requested and the school conducted a comprehensive special education evaluation, as the Student received failing grades and was disciplined on numerous occasions for violating the student code of conduct. The evaluation team concluded student did not qualify for specially-designed instruction, notwithstanding its members’ knowledge of Student’s Intermittent Explosive Disorder diagnosis prior to attending the Charter School. The Parents disagreed, and continue to, and at the end of that school year, the Charter School abruptly closed. Thereafter, Parents filed a due process complaint alleging the Charter School failed to provide FAPE in violating its “child find” obligations or education in the least restrictive environment.
After filing that complaint, the Parents also filed a second due process complaint against the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), alleging as the State Education Agency (SEA) within the meaning of the IDEA, PDE failed to ensure that Charter School complied with the IDEA. They directly allege PDE failed to educate the Student. PDE responded with a Motion to Dismiss, followed by a parental response and PDE reply. PDE concedes if the hearing officer finds as the LEA Charter School failed to provide the Student with an IDEA-required FAPE, as the SEA, it will provide any appropriate relief order by this hearing officer. 3 I granted PDE’s Motion to Dismiss, after which Parents proceeded with the due process hearing against Charter School.
On September 26, 2016, after taking testimony, the hearing officer granted the Parents’ request for an interim Independent Education Evaluation (IEE), prior to a final decision on the merits. On November 22, 2016, the Parents submitted the IEE report. The hearing officer and Parents’ counsel participated in a conference call to discuss future proceedings. The Parents, after submitting the IEE, are requesting compensatory education. For the reasons set forth below, I find in favor of the Parents and award the Student compensatory education. As the Charter School is closed, though it was provided with notice of the hearing by the Office for Dispute Resolution and Parents’ counsel, PDE will apparently provide the compensatory education on its own initiative.